Whenever we are holding onto something, or someone, for dear life, we are using a whole lot of effort to hold onto it, as if our very life depended upon not letting go. In some cases, we are the ones doing the "holding" - simply because we are desperate to not let go. At others, someone or something else is holding onto us - because to let go would be to experience loss of some kind. None of us likes to experience loss - no matter how well we are prepared. Loss is often equated with being "deprived" of something you once had, such as when we mourn the loss of an individual in our lives. It can also mean an accidental loss of something, much like misplacing something we once were so careful to have been aware of. Either way, the loss causes us some type of sense of "urgency" and "grief". Loss is somehow equated with letting go - either consciously, or unconsciously.
“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!” (Psalm 91:14-16 MSG)
Our psalmist reminds us of our need to hold onto God for dear life. This almost implies we could experience a whole lot of grief, or unnecessary concern if we don't! When we see what our psalmist says in this passage, we will notice some very important aspects of "holding on" which we can take to heart.
Foremost in our thoughts should be the position of "holding on" - not to some "thing", but to the God of the entire universe - the Creator of all things. When you are holding on "for dear life", you are determined to not let go! There is a tenacity and determination to hold on, no matter what comes your way. I have been on roller-coasters at the amusement parks, being thrown this way, then that, all the while "holding on for dear life" until the ride came to a safe stop at the base of the ride. Roller-coasters are actually built with something expressly for the purpose of "holding on" - that little bar which comes across you, or the one which straps over your shoulders and comes down around your arms and chest. The "bars" are designed to not only keep you safe, but to give you something to "hold onto" - simply because the ride will be rough! Guess what? Life has some rough twists and turns at times. When we are holding onto the right stuff in life, we find we get through those twists and turns unscathed!
God tells us he'll be the one to get us out of ANY trouble - when we are holding onto him. No person, or thing, can do what God can do - they may promise to keep us safe, but the best security system in the world is nothing compared to the shelter of his arms! Sometimes we stop right there and don't read on in this passage - simply "claiming" the promise that God will get us out of any trouble. The truth of the matter is God gives us some responsibility in this! First, we position ourselves to hold onto him for dear life - because our life really does depend upon him! Then we have to get to know him and learn to trust him. It is impossible to trust anyone or anything if we never get to know the integrity of the person, or the strength of the object. We trust the bar across our body on the roller-coaster because it is there, locked into position, and it is solid. We learn to trust God in much the same manner - because he is consistently there, he is "locked in" on us, and he is a solid foundation!
Simply holding on may not be enough at times - we also need to call out when our resolution is not as strong as it should be, when the obstacles in our path might cause us to stumble, and when our grip seems to be slipping. If you have ever tried to hold onto something tightly for any length of time, you know you eventually allow your grip to slacken. Why? Simply because your attention is diverted from the focus on "holding on". God reminds us when this happens, we need to call out to him - he is there to strengthen our grip and to pull us even closer.
What we hold onto determines the stability of the ride! We can hold onto our "trusted" ways of self-will - trusting in our abilities to deal with life, or we can let go of our grip on "self-dependence" and learn to depend on the "safety-hold" of God's arms firmly around us. The choice is ours. What we find ourselves holding the tightest to may not always be the thing which we will find the greatest security and protection in. If our grip is on the right stuff, we will endure the "ride". Just sayin!